Black College Students: Objective Truth Is “White Supremacy” and a “Myth”
A group of black students at one of America’s ritziest private colleges has sent a lengthy open letter to their school president charging that the search for objective truth is a white supremacist invention used for “silencing oppressed peoples.” The letter also criticizes free speech as “a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions.”
The students who wrote the letter attend Pomona College in sunny Southern California, reports the Claremont Independent, a student newspaper.
Pomona, a member of the five-school Claremont Consortium, charges $64,957 for a single year of tuition, fees and room and board.
The museum-quality, 1,053-word letter addressed to outgoing Pomona president David Oxtoby is a response to Oxtoby’s statement earlier this month stressing the fancypants school’s commitment to “free speech and academic freedom.” Oxtoby made his statement in the wake of a protest which had shut down an April 6 speech by Heather Mac Donald, a generally conservative social critic.
The letter penned by Pomona students Dray Denson, Avery Jonas and Shanaya Stephenson begins by declaring that many American colleges — and, in fact, “this entire country” — “were founded upon the oppression and degradation of marginalized bodies.”
Oxtoby’s defense of free speech “contains unnuanced views surrounding the academy and a belief in searching for some venerated truth,” Denson, Jonas and Stephenson charge.
“Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity,” the missive says, but the concept of “a single truth” “is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny.”
“The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples,” the black students declare.
The very dramatic letter from the black students at the $64,957-per-year, meticulously landscaped school then laments the “idea that we must subject ourselves routinely to the hate speech of fascists who want for us not to exist.”
Inviting “white supremacists” to campus — like “fascist,” “warhawk” and “queerphobe” Heather Mac Donald — provides a platform for “toxic and deadly illogic” “condoning violence against Black people.”
After observing that their “ultimate goal” is “to overthrow systems of oppression,” the black students sternly ask Oxtoby to respond “by Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 4:07pm.”
They demand that Oxtoby compose and send “a revised email sent to the entire student body, faculty, and staff by Thursday, April 20, 2017, apologizing for the previous patronizing statement, enforcing that Pomona College does not tolerate hate speech and speech that projects violence onto the bodies of its marginalized students and oppressed peoples, especially Black students.”
They further “demand that Pomona College and the Claremont University Consortium entities take action against the Claremont Independent editorial staff for its continual perpetuation of hate speech, anti-Blackness, and intimidation toward students of marginalized backgrounds.”
Still further, the black students “demand that this institution and its constituents take legal action” — “such as expulsion” — “against members of the Claremont Independent” if the black students “begin to receive threats and hate mail” once the Claremont Independent published the letter.
Free speech “has recently become a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions,” the black students charge. “It has not just empowered students from marginalized backgrounds to voice their qualms and criticize aspects of the institution, but it has given those who seek to perpetuate systems of domination a platform to project their bigotry.”
In addition to Denson, Jonas and Stephenson, a couple dozen other students enrolled at a campus in the five-school Claremont Consortium have signed the letter as “co-signatories.” These “co-signatories” include Scripps College freshman Mazvita Nyamuzuwe, Harvey Mudd College sophomore Jordan Howard-Jennings, Pitzer College junior Karé Ureña and Pomona freshman Journey Simmons.
Oxtoby, the Pomona president to whom the letter is addressed, blamed then-candidate Donald Trump last year for the various race protests cropping up on campuses across the country. He suggested that America’s on-campus race protesters were angry because Trump refused to restrain his language and attitudes in the face of the students’ radical race-centered politics.
Also last year, a group of white students at Pomona College established a white-people-bashing group with the impressively long title: “We’ve Got Work To Do: White People for Deconstructing Whiteness.” An ad for the group frothed that people with pale, cream-colored skin “are all not only complicit in, but actively perpetuating white supremacy.” Incredibly, the group was only allowing “white people who believe white supremacy exists” to join.